The Purple Heart turns 232

(AP Photo)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As Corpsman Jacob Schlauder of Stonington recovers from the traumatic brain injury he sustained in an explosion, he’s being honored with the Purple Heart, which President George Washington created on Aug. 7, 1782.

According to, Washington created the “Badge for Military Merit.”

It is a decoration “consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged with a narrow binding of silver, with the word Merit stitched across the face in silver. The badge was to be presented to soldiers for ‘any singularly meritorious action.’”

Washington created the honor in Newburgh, N.Y., and it was awarded to three soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Recipients’ names were supposed to be entered into a book, which was eventually lost and forgotten. The award was also forgotten until 1927, but in 1932 was reinstated in time for Washington’s 200th birthday, according to the History Channel. This time it was called the “Order of the Purple Heart.”

“In addition to aspects of Washington’s original design, the new Purple Heart also displays a bust of Washington and his coat of arms,” according to the History Channel. “The Order of the Purple Heart, the oldest American military decoration for military merit, is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who have been killed or wounded in action against an enemy. It is also awarded to soldiers who have suffered maltreatment as prisoners of war.”

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